Smal hits out at thuggery

Boland hooker Dale Santon, renowned for his indiscipline, was up to his old tricks against Western Province on Saturday, with coach Gert Smal accusing him of "thuggery".

The substitute Boland hooker was yellow-carded in the second half, but according to a few WP players he deserved worse. Both tighthead prop Cobus Visagie, who said he had also been punched by Cobus van der Merwe, and lock Quinton Davids are carrying scars inflicted by the overzealous Santon.

Visagie told the Cape Times: "He (Santon) was hitting me because I was scrumming hard on him. He told me that if I'd come in on him again he would hit me again. I was laughing at him. It won't prevent me from scrumming.

"There is nothing personal about it. Afterwards we shared a drink and I asked Dale when he's going to stop playing because I'm 'gatvol'. Other Boland players tried to stop him during the match. Vion Wium (Boland lock) even told him that he should stop it."

Santon was only on the field for 10 minutes before foolishly being sin-binned. Province prop Robbie Kempson and Boland flanker Jannie Coetzee were also yellow-carded late in the match.

Commenting on the stud marks on Davids' neck, WP coach Gert Smal said: "If that kind of play is allowed we can just as well do away with the system of yellow cards and sort each other out by fighting.

"That's not what we want, but I think the administrators have to accept responsibility and ensure that that kind of play is rooted out. I don't see that as intimidation. I see it as thuggery."